Spokane School District Settles Teacher/Student Sexual Abuse Case for $2.05M

Jan 19, 2024 | Firm News, Sexual Abuse

The Central Valley School District of Spokane, Washington, has agreed to pay $2.05 million to settle a lawsuit brought on behalf of a student groomed and sexually abused by his high school teacher. The settlement was announced by PCVA partner Darrell Cochran.

The abuse took place at Spokane’s University High School in 2019. Jayleen Bowman was hired full time and assigned to work 1:1 with the victim during the 14-year-old boy’s freshman year. She immediately began grooming the student—who had documented disabilities—for her own sexual gratification. Reminiscent of the notorious Mary Kay Letourneau case, Bowman initiated frequent, inappropriate engagements with the boy, including daily meetups outside of school. She also began providing him with illegal drugs in and out of the classroom.

Bowman’s husband caught the pair in her car and reported her to police. She was subsequently arrested, charged, and convicted. The district fired her.

According to Darrell, “There were plenty of warning signs and red flags about Bowman the school should and could have easily picked up on and prevented this abuse. After everything we learned about predatory teachers from the Mary Kay LeTourneau case, this should have never happened.”

The abuse had devastating impacts on the boy. He suffered tremendous trauma and significant difficulties in school. He has also struggled with relations with women and substance abuse he attributes directly to the sexual abuse.

Along with the base settlement, the district also agreed to pay an additional $285,000 in legal fees.

The suit and settlement are critical to prompting policy changes in school districts state and nationwide to prevent future similar abuses and protect vulnerable students from predators.

“There are over 200 school districts in the state of Washington alone,” Darrell said. “Many of them still have the belief they are immune from having these types of predators within their hallways. This reinforces key lessons and the need for continued vigilance and trainings.”

In addition to Darrell, the student received legal counsel from attorneys Bridget Grotz, Kevin Hastings, and their team at PCVA, as well as Spokane-based attorney Thomas Farrell.